Handout: Our Strategies for Winning Freedom Today!

Module 3 – Strategies for winning freedom today, is coming up! We are excited to see you again soon. For this module, we would like you to showcase and educate us about your organisation or movement. In the box below are five questions that we would like you to answer. Think about how you would like to tell the story of your movement or organisation framed around these five questions.

You are free to be imaginative and choose any approach that you like: for example: using power point slides, a poster, a comic strip, a small exhibition, a short story with characters or a story of a particular moment from one of your campaigns or people you work with; a mock article in a local newspaper. The possibilities are endless!

Also bring (or email us for printing) the following items with you:

  • Your organisation’s constitution/founding document/mission/vision
  • 5 photographs that capture something about your organisation or campaigns
  • An example of a poster/ banner/pamphlet (and explain where this was used, why and the impact) – this might be a picture or copy of it.
  • An example of a public/press statement from your organisation.
  • Any press coverage/articles about your organisation’s activism

We will curate a display of these items during Module 3, and they can also be used for your presentation. Participants who come from the same organisation are encouraged to work together on this task.

5 questions for you!

1. What are we fighting against?

Organisations and movements often bring groups of people together to organise and challenge a particular problem in a locality, area or even the broader society. Some of us are involved in rural movements while some of us are in the basic education space. Others organise at a national level while some organise at local and grassroots level. Through our activism, we identify problems and offer solutions. We also recognise that problems have both immediate causes, and more deep-rooted structural causes. What are the issues, problems and injustices that your organisation is fighting, and what do you identify as their immediate and root causes?

2. What are our dreams and imaginations?

We join organisations to fight against certain practices, forms of oppression and injustices. But, in participating in organisations and movements, we are also inspired by a sense of possibility – what could be. Although we have a sense of what is wrong, we are inspired by the idea that things do not always have to stay that way, that we can break out of the current shell and imagine beyond its wreckage, a new situation, a new reality and a new world. From the perspective of your organisation and movement, what does this new world look like? What is the vision your organisation is fighting for?

3. How do we resist?

People who write about social movements often talk about resistance as a scream or a refusal. Resistance is a way of saying: “NO, things cannot go on like this”. In our context, people often say “enough”, “dis genoeg”, “holekane”, “kwanele”. Social movements have various ways of voicing out this refusal. Some of these modes of resistance include sit-ins, go-slows at work, protests, pickets, collective hunger strikes, shutdowns, disrupting events planned by groups or institutions identified as targets. What are the different and creative ways that your movement or organisation uses to resist injustice and oppression?

4. Who forms the bedrock of our movement? How do we relate to the state?

Which social groups form the bedrock of your organising strategy? Is it farm workers, the unemployed, women in townships or villages, pensioners, learners and students, young people who are poor, people at the risk of losing their homes? Who are the people that stand to benefit the most from the freedom that you are collectively fighting for?

How does your organisation relate to the state? Do you see the state an important part of your struggles for freedom? What is our attitude to political power?

5. What is your politics of freedom?

What kind of values and principles does your organisation subscribe to? Some organisations and movements believe that we must mirror the society we wish to create. An example of this would include how organisations try to break gender stereotypes by insisting that everyone participates in preparing food for meetings, cleaning up a venue, etc. In your organisation or movement, is there a relationship or link between how you organise and the future society you seek to build?